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Diabetes Health Center

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Retinopathy, Diabetic

It is possible that the main title of the report Retinopathy, Diabetic is not the name you expected. Please check the synonyms listing to find the alternate name(s) and disorder subdivision(s) covered by this report.


Disorder Subdivisions

  • None

General Discussion

Diabetic Retinopathy is a complication of diabetes and a disorder of the light sensitive tissue of the eye (the retina). This condition is characterized by destructive changes in the blood vessels of the retina, which, if left unchecked, may lead to visual impairment or blindness. The severity of the damage to the retina is highly correlated with the length of time the patient has had diabetes.

For reasons that are not well understood, the blood vessels of the retina lack their normal oxygen load. Capillaries tend to close off, further depleting the oxygen supply. The diabetes process also weakens the walls of these blood vessels, which tend to become enlarged and form micro-aneurysms. Not infrequently, the small blood vessels break causing hemorrhage and contributing to the patient's clouded vision.


Lighthouse International
111 E 59th St
New York, NY 10022-1202
Tel: (800)829-0500

American Foundation for the Blind
2 Penn Plaza
Suite 1102
New York, NY 10121
Tel: (212)502-7600
Fax: (888)545-8331
Tel: (800)232-5463
TDD: (212)502-7662

American Diabetes Association
1701 N. Beauregard Street
Alexandria, VA 22311
Tel: (703)549-1500
Fax: (703)549-6995
Tel: (800)342-2383

NIH/National Eye Institute
31 Center Dr
MSC 2510
Bethesda, MD 20892-2510
United States
Tel: (301)496-5248
Fax: (301)402-1065

Association for Retinopathy of Prematurity and Related Diseases
39650 Orchard Hill Place
Novi, MI 48375
Tel: (248)319-0161
Fax: (248)788-4589
Tel: (800)788-2020

Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation International
26 Broadway, 14th Floor
New York, NY 10004
Tel: (212)785-9595
Fax: (212)785-2873
Tel: (800)533-2873

Genetic and Rare Diseases (GARD) Information Center
PO Box 8126
Gaithersburg, MD 20898-8126
Tel: (301)251-4925
Fax: (301)251-4911
Tel: (888)205-2311
TDD: (888)205-3223

For a Complete Report:

This is an abstract of a report from the National Organization for Rare Disorders (NORD). A copy of the complete report can be downloaded free from the NORD website for registered users. The complete report contains additional information including symptoms, causes, affected population, related disorders, standard and investigational therapies (if available), and references from medical literature. For a full-text version of this topic, go to and click on Rare Disease Database under "Rare Disease Information".

The information provided in this report is not intended for diagnostic purposes. It is provided for informational purposes only. NORD recommends that affected individuals seek the advice or counsel of their own personal physicians.

It is possible that the title of this topic is not the name you selected. Please check the Synonyms listing to find the alternate name(s) and Disorder Subdivision(s) covered by this report

This disease entry is based upon medical information available through the date at the end of the topic. Since NORD's resources are limited, it is not possible to keep every entry in the Rare Disease Database completely current and accurate. Please check with the agencies listed in the Resources section for the most current information about this disorder.

For additional information and assistance about rare disorders, please contact the National Organization for Rare Disorders at P.O. Box 1968, Danbury, CT 06813-1968; phone (203) 744-0100; web site or email

Last Updated: 8/8/2007
Copyright 1986, 1987, 1989, 1992, 1999, 2007 National Organization for Rare Disorders, Inc.

WebMD Medical Reference from the National Organization for Rare Disorders

Last Updated: May 28, 2015
This information is not intended to replace the advice of a doctor. Healthwise disclaims any liability for the decisions you make based on this information.

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